Jeff Passan of ESPN has a story this morning about the overhaul of the clubhouse culture Philadelphia Phillies for 2019. Why the need for the overhaul? Because last year guys were “doing their own thing.” The kind of thing they were doing: leaving the dugout during games to play “Fortnite.”
When Gabe Kapler told his guys to “get their grind on,” this was probably not what he had in mind.
The best part: when then-Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana saw this going down in the middle of a nine-game losing streak toward the end of last September he grabbed a bat, went into the clubhouse and smashed the TV to get his teammates to knock that crap off.
While it’s suggested in the story that this was not a common thing — guys did it maybe a couple of times — the incident itself is not denied by anyone, nor is the notion that, due to Gabe Kapler’s hands-off managerial style, players not paying attention to games was not uncommon. The rest of the story has Kapler, Jake Arrieta and others on the 2019 Phillies talking about how the club plans to approach things differently this season.
I realize it was the end of the year and that, within days of the incident all the players and beat writers went their separate ways, but I’m kinda shocked this wasn’t reported until now. Seems like the sort of thing that would get out. Oh well.
In other news, if the Rays continue to lowball Blake Snell going forward, you have to figure Philly would be on his short list:
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.